Larry Fitzgerald’s ‘exceptional block’ springs Michael Floyd for TD

Dec 10, 2015, 11:35 PM | Updated: Dec 11, 2015, 10:12 am

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Larry Fitzgerald caught five passes for 41 yards in the Arizona Cardinals’ 23-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings Thursday.

The effort boosted his season totals to 95 catches for 1,089 yards and seven touchdowns, and his career numbers now stand at 1,004 catches, 13,239 yards and 96 touchdowns.

Yet for all he has done in terms of catching passes, it is his blocking that has seemed to garner much of the attention of late.

No more has that been evident than on Michael Floyd’s 42-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter Thursday, which was made possible because of Fitzgerald’s absolute demolition of Vikings safety Anthony Harris.

“I scored and then I ran right to him, because without him I would never have made a play like that,” Floyd said. “He made an exceptional block. I’m more happy for the block than the whole touchdown.”

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians had a similar assessment, praising Fitzgerald for how he handled a play in which both he and Floyd were both open in the same part of the field.

And that’s just it: the ball could have gone to either receiver for a big play. Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer said he did not know who to throw it to, noting he threw it in between the receivers and hoped one of them would catch it.

Floyd did, paving the way for Fitzgerald to pave the way for Floyd.

“Mike was in my reception area, but to add insult to injury then he made me have to block for him to get in the end zone, so he was running with the ball that I was supposed to have,” Fitzgerald said, with a smile. “It was an interesting play. It worked out for us and it’s always good to have a good laugh and a win.”

Fitzgerald’s blocking is no laughing matter, though — just ask Harris. Along with Fitzgerald’s ever-present ability to make plays down the field, the veteran wideout’s ability to help spring his teammates has become something that is often talked about.

But Thursday night may have been his coming out party, at least when it comes to his ability to block and the rest of the NFL realizing it.

Fitzgerald, 32, said the highlight-reel block was not the first pancake of his career, and did not seem apt to take much credit for it because, as he said, it’s part of the duty of his job. He also pointed out how the team’s offensive linemen are the real blockers, adding Floyd never would have had a chance to even catch the pass if not for them protecting Palmer long enough to get the pass away.

“Those guys are the real protectors, man,” he said. “Those guys are the real blockers and they never get enough credit.

“Everybody’s got to do their part to make it go.”

Most of the time, Fitzgerald’s part will be catching passes and making big plays down the field. Every now and then, it involves getting a little dirty and making a block or two. He’s proven capable of excelling at both, though make no mistake, he enjoys one aspect of his game far more than the other.

“Blocking’s not fun; it’s part of the job, but catching touchdowns is much more glorious,” he said. “You’re not as sore, you don’t have to get in the cold tub as much.

“But it’s a role I’m privileged to have because I know it’s a dirty job and I’m capable of doing it.”

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Minnesota Vikings Anthony Harris (41) breaks up a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings with Larry Fitzgerald (11) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) sits on the field after fumbling as Arizona Cardinals nose tackle Josh Mauro (97) celebrates during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) fumbles after being hit by Arizona Cardinals nose tackle Josh Mauro (97) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) sits on the turf after fumbling against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) is sacked by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) breaks up a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver J.J. Nelson (14) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs as Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals strong safety Deone Bucannon (20) celebrates a stop against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws under pressure from Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is hit by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) and Anthony Harris (41) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Mike Wallace (11) pulls in a touchdown catch against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro (7) watches his field goal split the uprights as Drew Butler (2) holds and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Marcus Sherels (35) tries to block during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro (7) celebrates his field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings with Drew Butler (2) and Calais Campbell (93) , Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) holds up the football after a fumble recovery for the win against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 23-20. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Dwight Freeney (54) forces Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) to fumble during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals recovered the ball to secure the 23-20 win. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Dwight Freeney (54) forces Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) to fumble during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals recovered the ball to secure the 23-20 win. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) holds up the football after a fumble recovery for the win against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 23-20. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) greets Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) after an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 23-20. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) meet at mid field after an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 23-20. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, left, talks with Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer prior to an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws during warm ups prior to an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro (7) kicks a field goal as Drew Butler (2) holds during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) celebrates his touchdown run against the Arizona Cardinals with teammate Stefon Diggs (14) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) breaks free from Arizona Cardinals free safety Rashad Johnson, right, cornerback Patrick Peterson (21), and tackle Josh Mauro, left, during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) runs for a touchdown after the catch against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) breaks free from Minnesota Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (24) for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals strong safety Deone Bucannon (20) forces Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright (17) to fumble as free safety Rashad Johnson (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. Bucannon recovered the fumble for the Cardinals. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs after the hand off from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is hit by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals strong safety Deone Bucannon (20), rear, forces Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright (17) to fumble as safety Rashad Johnson (26) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. Bucannon recovered the fumble for the Cardinals. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is hit by Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) is sacked by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright (17) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) scrambles under pressure from Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Markus Golden (44) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) scores a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings with Larry Fitzgerald (11) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Minnesota Vikings Anthony Harris (41) breaks up a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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